Peter Boneham steps down after 40 years at Ottawa dance lab

After four decades leading Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa, Peter Boneham is stepping down.

After four decades leading Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa, Peter Boneham is stepping down.

Le Groupe Dance Lab, which Boneham founded, offers residencies to choreographers, who work with Le Groupe's company of dancers over a period of weeks to research a new work, with a senior artist acting as a mentor.

The lab is an opportunity to experiment for the choreographers, who see a performance of their work before an audience at the end of their residency.

Boneham, 73, has signalled his intention to step down as artistic director on July 1.

He's tapped as his successor Montreal dancer and choreographer Tony Chong, who's been an artistic associate with Le Groupe since 2005.

Chong has created many dance works such as The Berlin Project, Le naufragé, I See Much Less Than it is to Come and dance video Rupture.

Trained in Vancouver and New York, Chong danced with La Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Carbon 14, Jean-Pierre Perreault, Dominique Porte's Système D and Louise Bédard Danse.

Boneham will continue teaching and mentoring with the organization as a senior artistic associate.

He has won international acclaim as the choreographer of more than 40 works, in a career spanning five decades.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., he danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in the 1960s before becoming assistant director with Le Groupe de la Place Royale in 1966.

Boneham has been artistic director of the experimental company since 1971 and his vision led to creation of Le Groupe Dance Lab.

In 2005, he won a Governor General's Award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts and was hailed as the longest-serving director of a Canadian contemporary dance troupe.